Arid Dune Ecosystems pp 183-200

Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 200) | Cite as

Evapotranspiration, Transpiration and Dewfall

  • T. Littmann
  • M. Veste

Actual evapotranspiration is the most critical parameter in hydrological water balance models. The knowledge of atmospheric, plant and soil interactions in drylands is limited. Many evaporation models have been developed, but mainly for agricultural crops. The best known is the single-source Penman-Montheith evaporation model (Monteith 1965). This model assumes that canopies can be regarded as one uniform surface or big, single leaf. Most of the models have been largely successfully used for estimating evapotranspiration from vegetation which is not drought-stressed and relatively uniform, such as in agricultural fields. However, arid and semi-arid regions are characterized by patchy vegetation and larger open spaces.

In an arid environment, especially in sandy areas where surface runoff is of no practical importance in the hydrological budget, it is rainfall, dewfall, and evaporation and plant transpiration which constitute the most relevant parameters. Dewfall may become an input variable at least seasonally even more important than rainfall (Zangvil 1996). In the Negev sand dunes, especially dew has an important ecological implication for the activity and distribution of biological soil crusts and lichens (Chap. 21, this volume).

In this paper, we will apply and compare some of the most common approaches to compute actual evapotranspiration from field measurements in the sandy north-western Negev Desert in Israel, and introduce a practical model specifically applicable to arid environments. In this context, dewfall will be inferred as a reversal of the evaporative process.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Littmann
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Veste
    1. 1.Institute for GeoscienceMartin-Luther-University of Halle-WittenbergHalleGermany
    2. 2.DLC Dr. Littmann ConsultingEnnepetalGermany

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